When it’s too hot to garden during the day, what is there to do but garden at night? Neither floppy hat nor gobs of sunscreen will lure me into the glare of a hot and humid, possibly record-breaking, 90-plus-degree day. Or, as our local meteorologist reports: one with a heat index of 103. So instead, I venture out into the garden after dinner, dogs in tow, surveying the raised beds in the coolness of evening.
I carry a basket full of seeds, green string to tie the tomatoes higher, and wooden stakes and black markers to record once again what I have sown, some new crops and others a repeat of those planted earlier in the season. It is midsummer now and the lettuce, radishes, and shallots are fading, but the basil and tomatoes, beans and zucchini are finally coming into their own. A little more rain and warmth and I will be able to make my first tomato sandwich, one of the driving forces, no doubt, behind planting a vegetable garden.
At dusk, a hush settles over the garden and reminds me of a time when I did not speak during a meditation dinner at a retreat some years ago. Eating without speaking made me notice details I would have missed had I been babbling: who wore a wedding ring, what morsels people left scattered on their plates. Even the food tasted different. My garden in the evening is somewhat the same.